Public assured of 40 days ID turnaround

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Pretoria - Home Affairs Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula has assured first time ID applicants that they would receive their Identification Documents (ID) within a minimum of 40 days.

Speaking during the Governance and Administration cluster briefing on Tuesday, the minister conceded that her department had been plagued by challenges related to Information Technology (IT) systems in the past.

"We have had serious problems in the department where our IT systems were outdated.

"At the beginning of last year we implemented new IT systems as well as the ID track and trace [which allows ID applicants to trace the progress of the application]," Ms Mapisa-Nqakula said.

With the implementation of new IT systems, new applicants are able to receive new IDs within a minimum of 40 days, while re-issued IDs can be produced within 21 days, she said.

According to the Department of Home Affairs, monitoring of service level agreements with XPS Courier has resulted in massive improvements in turn-around times for the delivery of IDs to Home Affairs centres.

The department's contact centre continues to perform excellently with 98 percent of all calls received being responded to within 20 seconds, against the annual target of 80 percent.

The department is currently producing about 120 000 IDs per month, and there are close to 345 000 uncollected IDs at the Home Affairs centres countrywide.

Department of Public Service and Administration Minister Richard Baloyi appealed to the public, to support the department by collecting their IDs, and encouraged those who had lost their IDs to apply for replacement documents.

The Home Affairs Department's counter-corruption unit has been working alongside the South African Police Services (SAPS) to identify, investigate and criminally charge officials involved in fraud and corruption.

Minister Baloyi highlighted that 67 home affairs officials have been arrested in the past 12 months.

The issue of corruption was at the top of government's priority list, Mr Baloyi said, adding that between 2001 and 2008, three anti-corruption summits have been held in South Africa.

Fraud prevention plans have been implemented and adopted by 227 municipalities, Mr Baloyi said, adding that 78 municipalities have also established internal audit committees to root out financial mismanagement.

Much of the clusters work has focussed on the entrenchment of good governance with the establishment of entities such as the Public Protector, the Commission on Gender Equality, the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) and the Competitions Commission.

Government remains committed to being a people's government and has through mechanisms such as Izimbizo, ward committees, Thusong Service Centres and community development workers (CDWs), broadened community participation in government, Mr Baloyi said.

"Through Izimbizo government has connected with the people, with government reaching out and interacting with the people to cement a contract," he explained.

Since 2001, a total of 135 Thusong Service Centres have been built, however, it is government's aim to have one centre in every one of South Africa's 283 municipalities. In addition, some 3 000 CDW's have been appointed, with ward committees being established in 98 percent of the country's municipal wards.